Review: The Stars My Destination

I’m reading more than I am writing at the moment, and a lot of the reviews I’d like to write are stalled by what I’m reading. It’s a happy problem. So, here’s one from the archives. The Stars My Destination only just fell of the end of my top ten novels. Re-reading this review, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t reshuffle the order.

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

From the back cover:

“EDUCATION: NONE. SKILLS: NONE. MERITS: NONE. RECOMMENDATIONS: NONE” So reads Gully Foyle’s Merchant Marine card. But Gully has managed to survive for 170 days in the airless purgatory of deep space and to escape to Terra with a murderous grudge and a secret that could change the course of history…

The Stars My Destination is a classic of technological prophecy and timeless narrative enchantment by an acknowledged master of science fiction.”

Marooned in deep space by the wreckage of the Nomad, after being left for dead by the passing luxury-liner Vorga, Gulliver (Gully) Foyle engineers his own escape. He is taken in by the bizarre Scientific People and initiated into their cult. The wrecked Nomad is welded to the junked ships around their asteroid, he is given a wife and, in a gesture that will end up defining him, his face is tattooed with tiger stripes and the word ‘Nomad’ which is perceived to be his name.

The tattooing becomes a perfect metaphor for the monster within as, even after he has the stripes removed, they are still visible when he loses control in either rage or passion, forever marking him as a ‘monster’. This is one of my favourite elements in the book.

Continue reading “Review: The Stars My Destination”

Review: Glasshouse

One from the archives! With Neptune’s Brood burning a hole through my To Be Read pile, I’ve been revisiting the books of Charles Stross.

Glasshouse by Charles Stross

With this book, Charles Stross has established himself as one of my favourite authors.

Previously, I have read quite a few of his novels, including several of the Merchant Princes series, one of the Bob Howard – Laundry books, Halting State and Saturn’s Children. With the exception of Saturn’s Children and perhaps the first of the Merchant Princes novels, I’ve had a hard time immersing myself in his stories and actually liking his characters. I keep picking up his books, however, as I like his concepts.

Then I read Saturn’s Children. What a fabulous book. The mixture of hard science and futuristic culture with a treatise on what it is to be human fascinated me. I loved the concept. And, the author’s sense of humour made the characters leap off the page. The main character, Freya, wasn’t entirely loveable, she had her faults. But that’s the point of a good book, isn’t it? To take a character and have them evolve.

Which is exactly what happens in The Glasshouse.

Continue reading “Review: Glasshouse”